Lasting Powers of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney (‘LPA’) is a document by which you give authority to others to make decisions on your behalf. That authority lasts even if you lose mental capacity to manage your own affairs, hence the name ‘lasting’ power of attorney.
If you or a member of your family is facing illness then an LPA is an essential legal document and should be put in place at the earliest opportunity. If you are in good health, an LPA is prudent legal planning; ‘just in case’ protection for your family.
Lasting Powers of Attorney come in two ‘flavours’, property and financial affairs and health and welfare.
Property and financial affairs
As the name suggests, a property and financial affairs LPA allows another person to make decisions on your behalf in relation to your property and finances.
The LPA can be used under your instruction whilst you are well if, for example, you are going to be out of the country for a long period and you want somebody else to be able to deal with your finances whilst you are away.
More importantly, the LPA can be used to manage your affairs if you become unable to deal with your property and finances yourself through accident or illness, such as stroke or dementia. In such difficult circumstances, the LPA is invaluable because it grants your chosen individual(s) immediate authority to deal with banks and other financial institutions on your behalf.
In contrast, if you do not have a property and financial affairs LPA in place, there is likely to be a delay of several months before your finances can be accessed on your behalf. This delay can cause real problems if there is a mortgage or household bills to be paid or if funds are needed quickly to pay for care.
Health and welfare
A health and welfare lasting power of attorney allows another person to make decisions on your behalf regarding your medical treatment and general welfare.
Unlike the property and financial affairs LPA, the health and welfare LPA only comes into effect if you are unable to make decisions about your health and welfare for yourself.
We would always recommend that you have a health and welfare LPA in place if you have strong views about your medical treatment, particularly end-of-life care or if you feel that there could be any dispute between family members about your treatment.
If you would like to know more about lasting powers of attorney for yourself or for somebody you care about, then call or email us.
Registration of Enduring Powers of Attorney upon loss of capacity
If you are acting as an attorney under an old-style enduring power of attorney and the person who granted that power to you has lost mental capacity, you are under a legal obligation to register the enduring power of attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian.
We can advise you on issues of mental capacity, as we know that this is often a grey area, particularly in the early stages of dementia. If it proves necessary to register the enduring power of attorney, we can deal with all stages of the application on your behalf.
Call or email us and find out how we can help you.
LATEST NEWS & EVENTS
Government puts ‘unlawful’ probate fee increase on hold
The government has dropped plans to dramatically increase probate fees before the election, raisi...Read More
Inheritance tax changes 2016 – don’t believe everything you read
You may have noticed recent headlines about the increase in the inheritance tax allowance or ‘nil...Read More